As much as we are afraid of dying, we have thought about how we want to be buried. Some want only white flowers, other prefer it to be a celebration, while others wish for a quiet burial. However, there’s one more thing we need to think about when we go towards the light. Living in a populous city, temporary graves are filling up quickly. Our last selfless act should be choosing alternative green burial options—shroud burial, electrical cremation, or organ donation.
Shroud Burial: In shroud burial, the church offers a common coffin. At the time of burial, the body is wrapped in linen and lowered in the grave. Jesus himself had a shroud burial. The caskets we use today, goes back two centuries only, during the industrial revolution.
Electrical Cremation: The Romans cremated bodies, as they did not believe in the afterlife. Jews buried the dead. Later on, Catholics who did not subscribe to the doctrine of the resurrection requested cremation. Therefore, the Church banned it. In 1983, the new Code allowed cremation, but forbade it to those who asked for it in defiance of the resurrection. Today, it is recommended during pandemics, and it is environmentally friendly, and cheaper too.
Organ Donation: This burial is one of the most difficult option, but the most helpful in saving multiple lives. There’s no burial as the body is offered for organ donation where tissues, cornea, liver, lungs, kidney, heart, pancreas, and small intestine are transplanted. However, a memorial mass is held.
Sooner than later, these unconventional forms of burial will be the only choices. Churches in Mumbai stopped issuing permanent graves since 1974. If we are closed to green burial today, one day it will be a mandatory solution to our grave problem.
Trina Remedios (Media Cell)
With inputs from Fr. Caesar D’mello